From The New Yorker, Jill Lepore on the state of the presidential debate: How should candidates — and voters — argue about politics? There is a mechanism in place to prod the public into judging the candidates against each other: the presidential debates; it is not too much to suggest that the fate of the republic might hang on Clinton’s rising to the task. There’s one other reason Gary Johnson and Jill Stein should be invited to the debates: Third-party presidential candidates help to force the conversation on hot-button issues — like pardoning Edward Snowden. Zach Stanton on how to win a debate with mind games and dirty tricks. Steve Benen on the debates leading up to the debates. A simple plan to fix the presidential debates: Norm Ornstein on how the integrity of the country’s political system is on the line. The presidential debate format stinks — we should run crisis simulations instead.

Who will win the debates? Trump’s approach was an important part of his strength in the primaries — but will it work when he faces Clinton onstage? Trump team builds “psychological profile” of Clinton for debate. Which Trump will show up for Monday’s debate? If Trump is legitimately as stupid, lazy, and childlike as his advisers portray him to be, they should stop helping him get through the debate and instead warn America not to let him become president. Frank Luntz on how Donald Trump can defeat Hillary Clinton in the first debate and how Hillary Clinton can defeat Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton needs to come out on offense in the first debate. Annie Karni and Glenn Thrush go inside Hillary Clinton’s debate prep: The Democrat holds more moot court than mock debate as she prepares to show her opponent as unbalanced and ill prepared. David Axelrod on Hillary Clinton’s final exam.

Trump vs. Clinton: A debate fact-check cheat sheet. Trump to debate moderators: Don’t even think about fact-checking me — my supporters are watching. Let the debates begin, no referee required: Don’t make the moderators do the fact-checking — the truth will come out in due course. Margaret Sullivan on five things the presidential debate moderators must do. Jim Rutenberg on a moment of truth for presidential debate moderators.

Michael A. Carrier and Carl J. Minniti (Rutgers): The Untold EpiPen Story: How Mylan Hiked Prices by Blocking Rivals. Louise Linton just wrote the perfect White-Savior-in-Africa story. Obama’s UN speech revealed a paradox at the heart of global politics. We just lived through the hottest summer in recorded history — and possibly the hottest in “thousands of years”. Obama’s climate plan will survive legal challenge — there’s only one remaining Republican who can destroy life as we know it. Congress members casually compare abortion to slavery, black genocide, and killing puppies. Joe Scarborough has big dreams (including “Trump: The Musical”) A shadow monument to Jefferson’s legacy arises in the basement of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Nicholas Weaver on the biggest Internet attack in history.

A Harvard study finds negative news reports without context outnumbered positive reports 82% to 18% during 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions. If Clinton loses, blame the email controversy and the media. More say press is too easy on Trump than said so of Romney, McCain. Is the media biased toward Clinton or Trump? Here is some actual hard data. Fairly unbalanced: Chris Lehmann on election coverage with apples, oranges, and rancid meat. Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns on a week of whoppers from Donald Trump (and more and more). Dean Baquet doesn’t think Donald Trump is the media’s fault: The New York Times executive editor on the challenges of covering the candidate and how the paper decided to call him a liar. Lies of the Times: Did the shades-of-gray lady just wake up? Calling Donald Trump’s lies “lies” isn't partisan — it’s the truth. David Uberti on the big lie, little lie, and the media’s role in telling the difference.

The lying game: In covering the presidential debates, and the campaign, the press needs to stand up for the truth amid Donald Trump’s fairy tales. “You can kill a person with your tongue”: Pope Francis says irresponsible journalism is a form of “terrorism”. Dear readers: Please stop calling us “the media” — there is no such thing.